Author Topic: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention  (Read 6143 times)

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #58 on: November 25, 2011, 06:45:10 AM »
joebbowers:  Are you going to even address the points I brought up, or are you going to ignore them because your point is so self-evident, in your opinion, that you do not have to prove it?  I would not ask under most circumstances, except that you are making it obvious by your responses to other people (and honestly, by the topic title) that you are not interested in listening to criticism.  I would like you to confirm that if it's true, and if it's not, then to explain how a willingness to listen to criticism jives with dismissing legitimate questions as 'trolling'.  But either way it's up to you.

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #59 on: November 25, 2011, 06:49:32 AM »
God is imaginary. Religion does not exist beyond the people who believe in it. To say that religion is harmful but religious people are not is a weak apologetic stance, akin to saying guns are dangerous but the people who pull the triggers are not.

"Guns are dangerous but the majority of gun owners are not" I think is a more apt analogy for what you think Azgari is saying. But, no matter.   

Please, I want to hear more about what you think supports your contention, beyond "anyone who reads a newspaper knows....". 
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #60 on: November 25, 2011, 07:30:04 AM »
I'm really not interested in debating semantics and minor points that have nothing to do with my original message. Instead I'll restate it simply and clearly.

1. God is imaginary and religion is harmful.
2. In order to stop religion, belief in god is must no longer be a socially acceptable mental disorder.
3. Do not be afraid or ashamed to be atheist.
4. Encourage others not to be afraid or ashamed to be atheist.

"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #61 on: November 25, 2011, 07:39:25 AM »
I'm really not interested in debating semantics and minor points that have nothing to do with my original message. Instead I'll restate it simply and clearly.

While you're at it, you might want to read the rules and replies to your original message.

1. God is imaginary and religion is harmful.

Evidence for religion by itself (without believers) being harmful?

2. In order to stop religion, belief in god must no longer be a socially acceptable mental disorder.

Evidence that all religion is a mental disorder?
What is your reasoning to believe that this will succeed in "stopping" religion?
What do you mean by "stop religion"?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 07:53:55 AM by Lucifer »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #62 on: November 25, 2011, 08:06:37 AM »
I'm really not interested in debating semantics and minor points that have nothing to do with my original message. Instead I'll restate it simply and clearly.

Joe, welcome to the forum.  While it may be the case that the majority here may agree with your position, we tend to hold ourselves to the same standards of intellectual honesty as we do the "other side" - for that reason, we challenge blanket statements and expect those making them to be able to back them up with evidence.  
To that end I would appreciate if you would expand on the below:

1. God is imaginary and religion is harmful.

When you say "harmful", do you mean harmful to society, to the person who holds that religion to be true, or something else?   Do you mean a physical harm, or something different?

Like others, I would appreciate clarification, and seeing your evidence - particularly when there ARE studies that show that participation in a church leads to a longer, healthier, and happier life - so it would appear that religion is NOT necessarily harmful to the person involved, quite the contrary.

P.S. Just for info - where posts are made in bold green, it means the person speaking is doing so in their role as Forum Moderator.  Normal text (like this) means the person is speaking in a personal capacity.  More information can be found here > http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,17005.0.html
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #63 on: November 25, 2011, 09:04:29 AM »
I'm really not interested in debating semantics and minor points that have nothing to do with my original message. Instead I'll restate it simply and clearly.
That is of course your business, but it does you no benefit to ignore concerns that people have simply because you don't think they're important.

Quote from: joebbowers
1. God is imaginary and religion is harmful.
A hammer is not imaginary, but it can be harmful.  I wager religion is the same way in a very real sense.

Quote from: joebbowers
2. In order to stop religion, belief in god is must no longer be a socially acceptable mental disorder.
Why do you think that it is a mental disorder, and harking back to the previous one for a moment, why do you think religion itself is too harmful to be allowed to exist?

Quote from: joebbowers
3. Do not be afraid or ashamed to be atheist.
4. Encourage others not to be afraid or ashamed to be atheist.
Neither of these are any problem at all.  If this was your entire point, you'd probably have nothing but agreement from most people.

Offline Traveler

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #64 on: November 25, 2011, 09:08:56 AM »
I'm really not interested in debating semantics and minor points that have nothing to do with my original message. Instead I'll restate it simply and clearly.

1. God is imaginary and religion is harmful.
2. In order to stop religion, belief in god is must no longer be a socially acceptable mental disorder.
3. Do not be afraid or ashamed to be atheist.
4. Encourage others not to be afraid or ashamed to be atheist.

To address each of your points ...

1. I agree that god is imaginary, and am willing to accept it as a valid premise. As to religion being harmful, I have to ask, as others have, for evidence. Sure, religious folks downed the world trade center. But that's a small number of people. Sure, people have shot abortion doctors. But that's a small number of people. I could go on with examples, but in each case it's a small number of extremists. The vast majority of religious persons I know, of every persuasion, whether christian, jewish, pagan, or other, are nice people doing their best to be good people. They give to the local food bank. They pet sit for their neighbors. They occasionally spout a "thank god!" in weird places, but other than that you'd never know what their beliefs are. So, how are they harmful?

2. Before I'd be willing to "stop religion" you'd have to prove #1 to me. Furthermore, you'd have to prove it's a mental disorder. From wiki: "A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological or behavioral pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual, and which is not a part of normal development or culture." From thefreedictionary.com ... "any of various disorders in which a person's thoughts, emotions, or behaviour are so abnormal as to cause suffering to himself, herself, or other people." Prove that the average religious person causes suffering through their beliefs. Again, if you're talking about fundamentalists, I agree with you to a large extent. If you're talking about the average religious person, I assert that their right to free speech trumps anything else.

3. Of course not. I'm not ashamed, and "come out" to all my friends at some point.

4. Ditto.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #65 on: November 25, 2011, 10:14:20 AM »
I'm really not interested in debating semantics...

But semantics are of the utmost importance in regards to this thread and trying to determine what actions you support taking to address your concerns about religion. For example, you want atheist to come out and stand up for themselves and stand against religion so that we can begin cleansing the world of religion. Well that's fine on the surface but later you claim that Religion does not exist beyond the people who believe in it. Why would you use a phrase like "cleansing the world of religion" in the first place? Are you so naive that you don't see the connection between the language you just used and phrase "ethnic cleansing"?

I admit that I sometimes take things out of context or misinterpret what people say sometimes but you have said nothing to convince me that I mistook your OP. The opposite is in fact the case for me. I asked you this question yesterday.

Do you think it is reasonable to dehumanize a whole group of people because they don't have the same views as you?

Although you did not answer me directly you did tell Lucifer that if you "stopped to crush every ant on my way to work, I'd never get there". So it's obvious you do think it is reasonable to dehumanize people who question your views.

Not only that but I could go so far as to say that you are the type of person that, if you were in charge, you would put people who you have labeled dangerous and insane in asylum. Problem with that is, how could you justify spending money to feed, clothe and shelter a bunch of ants? Wouldn't it make more sense to just kill them?

I think it is entirely in YOUR best interest to argue semantics here.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #66 on: November 25, 2011, 10:54:02 AM »
I don't understand why Joe is being badgered to justify such an innocuous statement as:

Quote
1. God is imaginary and religion is harmful.

One can argue that some religions are more harmful than others, or that some religious people are more harmful than others of their religion, but the general statement is fundamental to the New Atheist movement.

Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett and Harris wrote their books because they think religion is basically harmful. And they all spend a lot of time justifying that view.

Incidentally, I was just reading a post by Velkyn (our most prolific poster, for Joe's benefit) talking to Riley, a recent christian visitor, in which she says:

Quote
And this belief in god harms people repeatedly.  Does the belief in the tooth fairy do this? <snip>

Let me ask you Riley, how do you “know for sure that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist”? And again, the harm that religion causes. <snip>

I’ll have to tell you that I’m not offended but a little disappointed, Riley.  It’s the reason that I find that religion harms people.  You’ve seen the idiocy that Christians like BS, onesteward, etc have shown and that’s what I fight against,
I'm not saying we all agree with Velkyn (or Dawkins et al, for that matter). But asking Joe to justify his statement with evidence seems a little ridiculous. I'm sure he could do it, just as I'm sure Velkyn could as well. But since you're all atheists, what's the point?

Dawkins, 2008, my bold:
Quote
The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science, especially in the schools of America. I am one of those scientists who feels that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance. We even have to go out on the attack ourselves, for the sake of reason and sanity.
Joe appears to be saying much the same thing - and using the same militant language.

I'd also point out that Joe is one of the few people on this site to post under his own name, so as far as his advice to be open about our atheism goes, he is not just talking the talk.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 11:12:36 AM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #67 on: November 25, 2011, 11:07:51 AM »
I don't understand why Joe is being badgered to justify such an innocuous statement as:

1. God is imaginary and religion is harmful.

If that were all he said then there would be no problem me thinks.

Quote
But since you're all atheists, what's the point?

We all know Velkyn pretty well. We know where she is coming from, what type of person she is and why she says what she says. I don't know Joe. I don't know where he is coming from. Some of the words he used raised concerns in my mind. His responses to our questions are not helping him.

Coarse, that's just me.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #68 on: November 25, 2011, 11:20:25 AM »
JayB:
Quote
Some of the words he used raised concerns in my mind. His responses to our questions are not helping him
You didn't start off asking questions; your first post just accused him of being a Nazi, simply for using militant language. 

Way to welcome new members. 

 

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #69 on: November 25, 2011, 11:23:29 AM »
JayB:
Quote
Some of the words he used raised concerns in my mind. His responses to our questions are not helping him
You didn't start off asking questions; your first post just accused him of being a Nazi, simply for using militant language. 

Way to welcome new members. 

I think he meant those who disagreed with his (OP's) PoV.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #70 on: November 25, 2011, 11:24:20 AM »
Not everyone here thinks that "religion is dangerous" is such an innocuous statement.  And I, for one, am not willing to give a pass to someone who starts talking about "cleansing the world of religion" or who wants to act like having a religious belief is a dangerous form of insanity and that believers need to be committed to an institution.

It has not been so many years since atheism was considered to be a form of insanity.  And even today, atheists are considered dangerous to society by a lot of people.  I can grant that some people are dangerous by holding religious beliefs, but I would guess that those same people would be just as dangerous holding other beliefs as well.  For that matter, I'll bet that some atheists have the potential to be dangerous via what they believe to be true.  We should not judge any belief system by the actions of its most virulent members.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #71 on: November 25, 2011, 11:47:23 AM »
JayB:
Quote
Some of the words he used raised concerns in my mind. His responses to our questions are not helping him
You didn't start off asking questions; your first post just accused him of being a Nazi, simply for using militant language. 

Way to welcome new members. 

I think he meant those who disagreed with his (OP's) PoV.

Right. I was thinking about his responses to your first questions and his responses to later questions. Joe may be a great person, like Vel and Gnu and Jetson or you. Or, he could be a hate filled hypocrite. Time will tell.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #72 on: November 25, 2011, 11:50:20 AM »
Wow.  Who would have thought the ideas that "god is imaginary, religion is bad and we should put an end to it" would be so controversial here?  Not me, that's for sure.  It's like up is down, black is white and dogs are cats.  But don't worry, Screwtape is here to make sense of it for you.

Joe is 100% correct.  He is.

If I were less lazy or had more time (I am the head chef for my family's thanksgiving, which, due to airline trouble will be today) I could probably research all of joe's tormentors' post histories and find examples where you have all agreed with him at one point or another.  To those of you reading this thinking, "Screwtape, you dick, you are full of it!  I never, never I say, would agree to such nefarious ideas!" go back through your post history and check.  Then, thank me for leading you to reason. 

I think your reactions to joe are more about his perceived hubris.  Either that or you are an argumentative bunch of contrarians who reactively disagree with any point presented to them.

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #73 on: November 25, 2011, 12:01:08 PM »
Screwtape, you're right re: most of his assertions.  As mentioned, you know that (for example) I agree 100% with the idea that we have a duty to out ourselves as atheists, and that that is the first and most obvious step toward ending our status as an aberrant demographic.

A lot of my own objection does have to do with his style.  But it also has to do with sloppy and dangerous claims like "the majority of religious people are harmful to society".  As Jay pointed out in his nazi-satire, this becomes a lot more chilling when changed to something like "the majority of jews are harmful to society".  People have used crap like that to justify atrocities.

Further, treating all religious people as a unified political enemy is unwarranted.  When people attempted to point this out to Joe, he reacted with hostility and immaturity.  How is one to treat that?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 12:08:30 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #74 on: November 25, 2011, 12:04:14 PM »
I'm not saying we all agree with Velkyn (or Dawkins et al, for that matter). But asking Joe to justify his statement with evidence seems a little ridiculous. I'm sure he could do it, just as I'm sure Velkyn could as well. But since you're all atheists, what's the point?

Agreed re: the claim that religion is harmful.  What do you think about the claim of his that I had challenged?
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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #75 on: November 25, 2011, 12:11:36 PM »
I ask for evidence (or at least good arguments) for statements that I disagree with.
I ask because if my own PoV is based on wrong information, then I need the right information in order to change my PoV.
I have received nothing but insults and dodges in return. This does not seem to be a very good basis for a proper discussion.

However, even if irrational belief is a form of mental illness, I would not agree to ridiculing them. Do you make fun of the mentally impaired just because they believe in things you don't or can't understand things you do?
Personally, I think jaybwell32's comparison of what the OP proposes to what the Nazi party did in WWII is fairly accurate, by my understanding of the OP's proposal. That said, if the OP can justify his PoV (which is really all I've asked here), I might be more inclined to agree with it.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 12:26:14 PM by Lucifer »
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Offline riley2112

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #76 on: November 25, 2011, 12:13:12 PM »
Jayb...I think you copletely missed the point.  And then you added your own take on what you think was meant.  I can't speak for the OP, but what you are outlining and agreeing to does not reflect the intent of the message.
Funny, I kind of saw that way also. I didn't think Jay was to far off.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #77 on: November 25, 2011, 12:18:49 PM »
JayB to Lucifer:
Quote
Quote
I think he meant those who disagreed with his (OP's) PoV.
Right. I was thinking about his responses to your first questions and his responses to later questions.
This is irrelevant.

JayB's first contribution to the thread in post #11 was to call Joe a Nazi.

(His second contribution in post 37, the question, Do you think it is reasonable to dehumanize a whole group of people because they don't have the same views as you?, seems to pursue the same point).

How is that helpful to a discussion? It's not surprising that the discussion has become so heated.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 12:47:06 PM by Gnu Ordure »

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #78 on: November 25, 2011, 12:23:07 PM »
<snip>
JayB's first contribution to the thread in post #11 was to call Joe a Nazi.

I saw it more as a comparison between what fundamentalists have done with what Joe proposed. I admit that Jay should've chosen a different group, because otherwise it just seems like an appeal to emotion.

(His second contribution in post 37, the questionDo you think it is reasonable to dehumanize a whole group of people because they don't have the same views as you?, seems to pursue the same point).

How is that helpful to a discussion? It's not surprising that the discussion has become so heated.

Agreed.

@Jay:
You shouldn't have assumed that that's what he was doing; you should've asked.
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Offline riley2112

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #79 on: November 25, 2011, 12:33:51 PM »
Sorry trolls, I'm not playing your game. The harm of religion is abundantly clear, I don't need to prove it. Anyone who reads the newspaper sees it everyday.
Dude ,Did you read that before you posted it?
Sounds like the argument a christian would try to make.

Religion is good. I don't need to prove it. Anyone who reads the Bible could see it everyday.

good way to make a point.  just saying
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Offline riley2112

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #80 on: November 25, 2011, 12:35:25 PM »
And as for the rest of you. If I had tryed to make a point like that , or any christian  had done that you all would have ripped it apart. I am disappointed. :laugh:
Most people think they know what they know. The problem starts by not knowing what you don't know. You know?  (Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence)   (Albert Einstein)One fool can ask more questions in a minute than twelve wise men can answer in an hour.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #81 on: November 25, 2011, 12:39:31 PM »
God is imaginary. Religion does not exist beyond the people who believe in it. To say that religion is harmful but religious people are not is a weak apologetic stance, akin to saying guns are dangerous but the people who pull the triggers are not.

You could say that religion brought down the world trade center, and I could just as accurately say religious people brought down the world trade center. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Ahh, I'd missed this until Pony mentioned it.  Pony is correct:  A more appropriate analogy would be between guns and gun-owners.

Some religious people are harmful to society.  I'd even guess that there is a greater proportion of religious people that are harmful to society than there is a proportion of non-religious people who are.

But if you are going to claim that the majority of religious people[1] are harmful to society, then that's a very bold claim that begs some sort of factual support.  How are they harmful, and how large of a majority is it?  TITS or GTFO.
 1. which, if it's a large enough majority, could easily be a majority of people in general
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Offline jetson

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #82 on: November 25, 2011, 01:08:49 PM »
I am pleased with how this thread is moving, actually!  I try to assume good intent when I don't know a person, but I have been burned, so it's not the end all approach.  But I did not take the OP as anything more than a more aggressive approach to religion and the problems it tends to heap upon societies.  I am also aware that religion-based groups have done a lot of good things to help the needy. 

I think it's fair to say that the sentiment from the OP goes beyond what is realistically possible, in terms of "getting rid of religion".  But I chose to consider that there are ways to marginalize certain group think that is out of touch with reality.  By that, I mean that is is certainly possible to start hammering away at the absurdities of religious thinking, and start making the more moderate followers think twice about sharing their delusions so openly.  To me, that is actually doable.

I also made a joke about the OP being DaveDave, but I was kidding, for sure.  I don't see enough similarity.  But I will say that some of what DaveDave espoused, I agreed with.  I just couldn't agree on a specific approach, which this OP has not really laid out.

I also think that the OP is responding to what he thought would be a more warm welcome to his ideas!  I should hope that he is now aware that we all don't think alike, or agree!  Let's keep the dialog going.

Joe, don't sweat the hard questions, please, take an honest stab at helping others understand in more detail.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 01:41:47 PM by jetson »

Offline relativetruth

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #83 on: November 25, 2011, 01:15:50 PM »
To get back to the OP..

Religious debate IS NOT POINTLESS.

As atheists are in the minority in almost all human societies we don't get to decide what the political agenda is.

If atheists are rational that means they should also should be pragmatic. If you want to 'Cure the world of religious delusion' how do you go about doing that?

You first have to separate religion from politics.

Europe is progressing in that direction.
USA still has huge problems (in spite of the constitution).
India may get there sooner than the USA , because of many religions Hindi, Islam, Sheikh, Christian etc so secular rules are fairest.
Is there hope for Islamic countries in the Middle East? I hope so.

If you compare China and Japan.
Communist China tried to suppress religion but when they made allowances for a market economy they also relaxed restrictions on religious practice and so both thrived.
In Japan Shintoism  is still widely practised.

My point is that even if the world would be a much better place without religion you don't get to change the argument until your views are those of the ones in power.

In the meantime we can just promote our argument without resorting to violence (mentally or physically). 
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #84 on: November 25, 2011, 01:24:11 PM »
RT, do you think the progress that has been made so far has been a result of debating religion with religious people?

Somehow, I doubt it.  Joe is spot-on that point.
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Offline riley2112

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #85 on: November 25, 2011, 01:43:16 PM »
RT, do you think the progress that has been made so far has been a result of debating religion with religious people?

Somehow, I doubt it.  Joe is spot-on that point.
Joe is right about debating religion, it  is pointless. There will always be people that believe in God, there will always be people that say they believe in God and truly don't ( that way they have something to blame what they do on), There will always be people that don't believe in God, and there will always be people that say they don't believe, when in truth they do but are just pissed at Him. Why is it you have to understand everything? I don't have to understand why you feel the way you do, and you don't have to understand why I feel the way I do. And that is ok.

“It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand...”
? Søren Kierkegaard
Most people think they know what they know. The problem starts by not knowing what you don't know. You know?  (Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence)   (Albert Einstein)One fool can ask more questions in a minute than twelve wise men can answer in an hour.
--Nikolai Lenin

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Re: Religious debate is pointless, the best cure is prevention
« Reply #86 on: November 25, 2011, 01:45:17 PM »
<snip>

It's not pointless. We've had theists deconvert, as well as atheists "coming out" through convincing arguments and encouragement.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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